Slapstick is a type of comedy involving exaggerated physical violence or activities which exceed the boundaries of common sense[ and sometimes includes ironic situations, such as a character being hit in the face with a heavy frying pan or running into a brick wall, or going mad while searching for something when it was really right next to where that person was originally sitting. These hyperbolic depictions are often found in children's cartoons (such as Tom and Jerry, Road Runner...), and light film comedies aimed at younger audiences.The phrase comes from the battacchioâcalled the 'slap stick' in Englishâa club-like object composed of two wooden slats used in Commedia dell'arte. When struck, the battacchio produces a loud smacking noise, though little force is transferred from the object to the person being struck. Actors may thus hit one another repeatedly with great audible effect while causing very little actual physical damage. Along with the inflatable bladder (of which the whoopee cushion is a modern variant), it was among the earliest forms of special effects that could be carried on one's person.
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